Aug. 29, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The top-ranked Santa Clara University women's soccer team opened its 2003 season with a double-overtime 1-1 draw against third-ranked UCLA tonight at Buck Shaw Stadium. The 2,037 fans that attended tonight's match marked the 30th time the Broncos have been cheered on by more than 2,000 attendees.
It was the season opener for both squads and marked only the second time in 24 season openers that the Broncos went into overtime. The first was against Cal Poly, a 2-2 overtime draw at Buck Shaw Stadium back in 1995. The match also marked the second consecutive extra period match between the schools.
Physical play defined the action tonight, with 43 fouls and six yellow cards called between the teams.
"Every time we play UCLA, it's a physical game," SCU head coach Jerry Smith said. "I expected tonight to be physical, especially since this is an early season game; it was just chaotic and there were more 50-50 balls."
The Broncos started early, with junior Bree Horvath, besting Under-21 National Team member Nandi Pryce for a slight breakaway shot that was saved in the 11th minute. Pryce countered with a header off a corner kick that was the first of five saves for Bronco netminder Alyssa Sobolik.
Senior forward Veronica Zepeda of Riverside, scored her first goal of the season, in the 23rd minute. Leslie Osborne passed to Lana Bowen on a quick restart at midfield, while Horvath and Megan Kakadelas connected on passes to advance the ball. Kakadelas' serve went past the goal, where Zepeda collected on the left side and allowed the Bruin defense to settle before she easily bent her ball into the right side of the net.
UCLA attack with 10 second-half shots, including one from 20 yards in the 75th minute by Stephanie Kron that bounced off the left post. The Bruins connected with 1:07 left in regulation with a through ball by Stacy Lindstrom that found Iris Mora. Mora drew Sobolik out on the play and blooped it into a near-empty net, just beating junior defender Jessica Ballweg past the goal line.
There were opportunities for both teams in the overtime periods, including a shot by UCLA that caught Sobolik going in the opposite direction. However, she was able to get a hand on it, bobbling and catching the ball to preserve the draw.
"At this stage in the season, we're working on everything" Smith said about how he will use tonight's lesson to prepare for his team's next outing. "Experimentation with taking different looks will be a priority for us. I think the weakest parts of our game today were composure and passing. I wasn't happy with the way we were possessing the ball until our first overtime period, so we were giving up a lot of shots and good scoring opportunities."
The Broncos will continue action on Sunday afternoon, against San Jose State at Spartan Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Santa Clara has won each of the past seven meetings with SJSU, holds a 29-3 scoring advantage, and has recorded shutouts in the last five games. The contest is part of the annual Rivalry Series between the two schools. The Broncos won last year's series by a 20-10 score. The two schools will also meet in volleyball and cross country this weekend, accounting for 10 of the fall season's 13 overall points.
Next week, Santa Clara will host Pacific on Thursday at 7 p.m. The athletic department will celebrate "Soccer Moms & Daughters" and "Girl Scouts" Night, admitting for free daughters who bring mom, as well as girl scouts wearing their uniforms or pins. Santa Clara will conclude that weekend with a Sunday match against 16th-ranked California at 1 p.m. Both matches will take place at Buck Shaw Stadium.